Some behind the scenes at Elland Road believe key Leeds United duo Liam Cooper and Kalvin Phillips could return from injury earlier than expected…
That’s according to the Daily Mirror’s David Anderson, who delivered the encouraging claim to GIVEMESPORT this week.
“[Marcelo] Bielsa keeps talking about March at the earliest for those two, although some people at the club seem to think that’s maybe unnaturally gloomy,” he said.
“They think there may be a chance they could be back maybe a little bit before that.”
Both players picked up hamstring problems during their 2-2 draw with Brentford at the start of December, with the 30-year-old skipper lasting just 15 minutes and the defensive midfield powerhouse managing 55 minutes that day.
Reports have suggested that they will be out for the next two months at least, though there is confidence behind closed doors that they will be back sooner than then.
And that would hand Bielsa one massive boost heading into the second half of the season.
A string of injuries have curtailed the Yorkshiremen’s progress in the Premier League under the Argentinian head coach this campaign.
Even though Sunday’s impressive 3-2 victory over fourth-placed West Ham moved them nine points clear of the drop zone, they have still flirted with the possibility of being dragged into a relegation dogfight.
Bielsa struggled to name any sort of strong bench for that clash, with Rodrigo being the only senior figure among nine substitutes. The rest were promising academy hopefuls, including 15-year-old midfieldeer Archie Gray.
You’d imaginre that any further setbacks would seriously hinder their chances of kicking on, so it’s easy to see why things are still precarious at Elland Road right now.
However, the prospect of welcoming back two integral figures earlier than expected is surely going to leave Bielsa hugely relieved, if not buzzing.
Phillips is crucial to the way they play as he’s the lynchpin that offers physical stability in front of the backline (2.3 tackles and 1.2 interceptions per game) and is capable of spraying diagonal balls all over the pitch to start many of their attacks (3.5 accurate long balls per game).
Meanwhile, Cooper is the club captain and a reliable option in the heart of defence. In his absence, Leeds are yet to keep a clean sheet and have witnessed emphatic defeats to Man City (7-0) and Arsenal (4-1).
Therefore, it’s hugely encouraging to learn that some at the club think they will return much sooner than first feared.
AND in other news, Leeds gifted significant boost as Phil Hay relays “good news” this week…